June’s jazz, humour and drama
I loved The Goon Show.
As a youngster growing up in Canterbury, I adored Sunday nights. The Goon Show was broadcast on either 3ZB or 3YA and, the following day, at school, we imitated Eccles or Bluebottle or Neddy Seagoon.
Now 60 years later it’s being reincarnated in Palmerston North.
Actor and teacher Ken Benn has secured the BBC rights to four episodes of The Goon
Show and, together with two acting colleagues, he’ll recreate them on stage at the end of next month.
One episode, The Tallest Mountain In the World, has special significance for New Zealand as it pokes fun at colonial Ed Hillary who reached the top of Everest ahead of any Brits. His ‘ed’ for heights was better than anyone else’s.
The Goon Show was made for radio, not television. You had to use your imagination. It was recorded before a live audience and the people who attend the performances at the Speirs Centre will become that audience as the three actors impersonate Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers.
George Orwell was also very British. His novels, Animal Farm and 1984, are satirical political commentaries, creating imaginary worlds that are completely convincing and becoming more real as our century progresses.
Manawatu Theatre is giving us a chance to experience the chill and repression of Orwell’s novel 1984 through a stage adaptation. In it the central character, Winston Smith, is forced, with the help of four party members, to confess his ‘‘thought-crimes’’ before an unseen inquisitor and the audience who act as a silent witness.
The play, directed by Scott Andrew, runs at The Globe from June 16 to July 1. It will be thought provoking and absorb the audience who are both participants in and witnesses of what’s happening.
1984 will appeal to an audience for whom the novel was a set text and to a new generation grappling with the extent of violence and surveillance in the world today.
The 50th Manawatu Jazz Festival has begun through the spontaneous cafe scene concerts and culminates this week with standout performances every night. The jewel in the crown will be the Jazz Gala featuring four US jazz legends on Saturday June 3 at the Regent on Broadway.
Creative Director Rodger Fox has attracted Dave Weckl, Tony Lindsay, Adam Shroeder and Alex Sipiagin to New Zealand and is currently featuring them in North Island festivals culminating in the Jazz Gala on Saturday night.
It will be a great moment when all four come together with Rodger and his big band on the Regent stage to celebrate 50 festivals. Proceeds from the Jazz Gala series will go towards helping to get Rodger and his musicians to the 60th Monterey Jazz Festival in September.
Make sure you book a seat to these wonderful festival events.